Yesterday, the Tampa Bay Times had an article discussing the impact of social media on this year’s Republican primary and how it’s allowing the conservative grassroots in the Republican Party to often undercut the establishment, as well as generally influence what the party prioritizes. The article is worth reading in full, and is especially relevant in light of the disenfranchisement of several state delegations by the Republican National Committee (RNC) this week.
Before the days of the Internet and especially social media, the RNC could have gotten away with efforts to control the state delegation process at the national level. A quarter century ago, it would have worked seamlessly. Just 15 years ago, it would have worked with some difficulty. Even 10 years ago, before the days of Twitter, Facebook, and prominent conservative blogging, this could have been snuck by even politically aware Americans who don’t know the ins and outs of conventions and political insider football.
Today, such an effort is nearly impossible. Drudge Report pulled in over 10 billion views in the last year, Hot Air saw 2.6 million unique visitors in the last month, and millions of Americans are part of organizations like Tea Party Patriots on Facebook. Ironically, social media has not just created sources for education; it also turned the RNC’s effort on its head. In looking for a unified Republican Party voice to oppose Obama, it created a massive backlash among grassroots conservatives the very week almost all of the nation’s media, of all kinds and political persuasions, were focused almost exclusively on the GOP. Instead of having a convention based around the Big Tent of Republicanism necessary to overturn the President’s health care law and begin balancing the budget, the RNC had millions of conservatives and undecided voters shaking their heads in despair at its top-down ineptitude.
Fortunately, grassroots conservatives don’t see the Republican Party as central to victory over the liberal policies enacted and continued by this President, the Democratic Party, and too many Republicans. Rather than see the Republican Party as a good in and of itself, which the RNC does, Tea Party Patriots across the country will continue to support the issues and elected officials who are true to our Three Core Principles. As candidates become more conservative and more accountable, the GOP will be forced to follow or be left in the proverbial dust.